People in northern Morocco demand better living conditions
Thousands of Moroccans have been protesting for several days in the northern city of Jerada, calling for better living conditions, after the death of two coal miners there last week.
Protests started last Friday, when two brothers died 85 meters under the ground when an abandoned coal mine they were digging in collapsed.
Holding banners and flags, protesters demanded justice for the victims, who were aged 23 and 30 and whose bodies were recovered after 36 hours of failed rescue operations.
Calling for compensation for the families of the two miners, demonstrators also called on the government to “find solutions to our problems; unemployment, water and electricity bills that are too high,” according to one protester.
“Young people go down into the mines because they have no other option. We ask the authorities to find us an alternative,” he said.
The protesters said that the economic policies of the government had caused poor living conditions, prompting people to dig abandoned mines in dangerous conditions.
The mine that collapsed on Friday had been the economic lifeblood of the people in Jerada, with over 9,000 employees. Authorities had officially closed it in the late 1990s.
People accused local officials of buying coal at very low prices from those who mine illegally to resell it at huge profit.